Civil War Books, a Consumer View

I will be the first to admit that I do not have the same insight into the ACW publishing world as some of my fellow bloggers. What I do have however is a consumer view and what I am seeing disturbs me. For my birthday last week my friends gave me a copy of Richard Miller’s Harvard’s Civil War. This is a great book but I already have a copy. No problem they gave me the receipt and I intended to exchange this book for another ACW title. I also had a coupon from Borders worth 25% off. So I went to my local Border’s this weekend and looked at the ACW section hoping to find something that would catch my eye. I found a copy of The Shenandoah Valley Campaign of 1864 (Military Campaigns of the Civil War) edited by Gary Gallagher. This is latest volume in the Military Campaigns of the Civil War series published by UNC Press. I basically had a free book and coupon that was about to expire so I decided I would take this book home. All I can say that if I did not have the coupon I might have decided to leave the book on the shelf. I was tempted to do this not because of the quality of the book but more so with the price. The retail on this book was $45. I make good money and ACW books are my only real vice but when the prices for new books start going above $35 I start to question the judgment of the publishers when you realize that in 5 years the avg book price in this series has increased by 38%. Recently I passed up buying Fear Was Not in Him: The Civil War Letters of Major General Francis C. Barlow, U.S.A because the retail price was $55. If this continues I guess I will be making more stops at the used book stores.


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